“Nas is a joint investor in Rap Genius, the greatest Silicon Valley embodiment of white corporatism and black culture, a startup built on translating black musicians’ words, built by three Yale grads, not a black face in sight. Ben (Horowitz) brings the money and tech cred, Nas gives him a hip-hop pass. Horowitz can indulge every boyhood dream of hanging out with rappers, and Nas will cosign—after all, some of his money is riding on the cachet Horowitz claims. It’s the perfect 21st century bond; the branded friendship”

The Underground Movement w/ DJ Blendz


Today, after weeks of media aggrandizement, millionaire tech investor Ben Horowitz and sat down on a stage in Austin with the rapper Nas and made a large room uncomfortable.

Did you know that Horowitz loves rap, and rappers? Yes? Are you sure? If you don’t, you might have somehow avoided the self-promotional blitz Horowitz had undertaken, the apex, or maybe nadir of which, took place earlier today. It was the most contrived thing I’ll see during a week of contrivances.

Horowitz and Nas, who the night before had shared a performance stage at a warehouse party with Ashton Kutcher (life imitates parody), swear they are dear, dear friends. And yet, they struggled to have a casual Q&A without looking at a printed out list of talking points. Even with the list, silence and weak laughter loomed.

The purpose of the interview, part of this week’s SXSW Interactive marketing…

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